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|Designer(s)||Tynan Sylvester |
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux|
|Release||October 17, 2018|
|Genre(s)||Construction and management simulation|
RimWorld is a top-down construction and management simulation video game by Montreal-based developer Ludeon Studios. Originally called Eclipse Colony, it was initially released as a Kickstarter crowdfunding project in early access for Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux in November 2013, and was officially released on October 17, 2018.
The futuristic plot originally revolved around three characters being stranded on a planet located in the frontiers of known space (a "rim world"), where their space liner crashed. The game is set in a universe where faster-than-light travel and superluminal communication are, so far, impossible, making large galactic empires inherently unfeasible.
With its release on Steam the game came with the addition, among other things, of a scenario editor, allowing users to choose and modify different starting plots, with different numbers of characters, starting items and map effects available; however, the location of these plots still remained the same, that is, still on a "rim world".
The combat system and the psychology of the characters are detailed; similar to Dwarf Fortress, every character has a different personality, and characters can have almost every part of their body damaged. During the set-up of a game-round, the backstory, medical conditions, capabilities and certain personality traits of the characters are randomly generated. If the player does not like one of their character's attributes, they can keep generating new characters until they find a set of attributes they like. The initial starting characters can be renamed.
As time goes on, more characters will join the colony. They can either join of their own free will, or they can be taken prisoner and talked into joining the colony. Like starting characters, they have a random set of traits generated by the game's machine.
The game can end when at least one character has escaped the planet on a spaceship, or when they are all dead. However, players are given the choice to continue to play, as it's possible to wait for a wanderer to take up residence in the ruins of the colony and continue the game.
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The main objective of the game is to expand and manage a colony of people in a futuristic setting driven by a randomly-generated story, on a non-Earth planet. When enough resources are procured, the characters can escape the planet by using a spaceship. The game has a top-down, two-dimensional view. In-game events are randomly generated by an AI storyteller.
The AI storyteller game mechanic is central to gameplay; game difficulty, event difficulty and difficulty progression depend on its settings. The different variations of this mechanic come under the form of different AI storytellers. The game ships with three preconfigured AI storytellers, all of which have changeable difficulty settings:
- Cassandra Classic steadily increases the difficulty of the game by increasing the difficulty of negative events as the time passes.
- Phoebe Chillax gives large periods of peace between negative events, but these are still challenging to the player if set on a high difficulty.
- Randy Random provides gameplay with unpredictable events occurring at random intervals. The level and frequency of negative events are randomly generated and can occur at any time.
While the game is being played, the AI storyteller will throw random events at the player, which are announced by a message icon on the right-hand side of the screen. Such events can be good (for example, a wanderer joins the colony), neutral (travelers passing through the area) or bad (pirate raid, solar flare, etc.).
Each of these random events affect gameplay. For example, during a pirate attack, the player will have to defend the colony by either drafting the characters or by building defense mechanisms around the colony. Such defensive measures may include traps and automated turrets.
The characters have different backgrounds and abilities, depending on random professions divided into two stages, childhood and adulthood, and random psychological characteristics. These have a very strong influence on the capabilities of the character. They also have needs that must be satisfied to keep them mentally stable (mental stability is represented by a mood meter), these needs go from basic ones such as food, rest and shelter, to the more complex, which include having a place to sit to eat, wearing well made and undamaged clothes, or enough time to increase their joy through various activities such as stargazing, cloud watching or playing chess. There are two different points at which result in a mentally broken character: the soft and hard breaking points. While going past a soft break for too long causes minor "mental breaks" such as them going into a broken daze and becoming incapacitated for a period of time, going past the hard breaking point can cause a character to, among other things, go berserk and attack other characters.
With the release of Alpha 13 on April 6, 2016, a new social aspect to the game was introduced. Characters were given the ability to have social relationships with each other, and an opinion system was introduced. These relationships can benefit or detract from the needs and joys of a character, as poor social relationships may result in fights.
Another large aspect of game-play is electricity, which is central to the colony; almost all devices, from gun turrets to cooking stoves to heaters require electricity to function. It can be generated by various means, for example a wind turbine, a solar panel, or a geothermal power station. Electricity is distributed using conduits. If more electricity is produced than is currently required, the player can build a battery to store the excess energy. In addition, new features have been implemented which include less effective alternatives to electricity. For example, there is the wood fueled stove, which is less effective than the electric stove.
On August 21, 2015, Alpha version 12 was released which introduced animal taming, trading, training and reproduction. Animals can be lured and tamed with food, but there is a small chance the animal will attack the tamer instead. Pets will "nuzzle" their master, giving them a mood boost. Intelligence was added as a factor and determines which skills an animal is able to learn. These skills vary from simply obeying its master to defending them if attacked, and even sometimes decide to carry and store items in the appropriate stockpile on its own. Eleven animals were added including elephants, two breeds of dog, cows, chickens, boomrats (which are small animals that "explode and sets fires on death"), and others. Reproduction, a feature that was highly requested by players, was also added, allowing the player much more freedom in managing their animal populations.
On December 20, 2016, Alpha version 16 "Wanderlust" was released. Many new features were added regarding the world map; these included: changing the world to be spherical, time-zones, factions now starting with many bases, the ability to travel the world, the ability to set up multiple colonies, world generation, and world generation parameters. It is possible for players to attack other bases and plunder resources from them, angering the attacked faction in the process.
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